Hiro Shimano

Hiro Shimano

Hiro Shimano

Nationality: Japanese
Programme: Modular Executive MBA, 2015
Pre-MBA: Senior Exploration Geologist, JX Nippon, London, UK 
Post-MBA: Deputy General Manager, JX Nippon, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Current industry: Energy/Utilities
Transitions made: Function, Location

Before I joined the Cass Modular Executive MBA, I had been working as a senior exploration geologist for JX Nippon, the largest petroleum company in Japan. I was made technical team leader of a new venture in London in 2011, two months after the earthquake and tsunami disaster in my home country.

I chose Cass for two reasons. Firstly, my manager recommended that I undertake a course in a convenient location that would enable me to balance my studies with my work commitments and family life. Cass is located only 100 metres from my office. Secondly, I was attracted by the cultural diversity. At my interview, I discovered that there are students from more than 30 nationalities on the MBA programmes.

To be honest, I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve by undertaking the MEMBA, but I knew that I wanted to be something more than a geologist. I wanted a new challenge that would keep me engaged and focused on my career in the years ahead. Also, the 2011 disaster in Japan had sharpened my appetite to learn about organisational risk management and the global energy issues connected to climate change.

Although I dived enthusiastically into my MEMBA journey, I was not entirely confident that I would complete my studies. Having come from a science background, I was concerned that I might lack the fundamental finance and accounting knowledge I would need to succeed. But my classmates helped me to overcome my anxiety and I quickly realised that I would be too busy studying, working and living my life to waste precious time and energy worrying. I found myself studying in a supportive atmosphere, with classmates from a variety of industries and cultural backgrounds.

The MEMBA enabled me to analyse complex situations systematically and to present my solutions clearly. Learning ‘hard’ skills such as finance and accounting gave me a fresh perspective on internal business issues, while ‘soft’ skills such as organisational behaviour and strategic thinking revealed the issues behind the numbers.

Colleagues have since told me that the MEMBA helped me to analyse issues from several angles and to see the bigger picture. Close friends mentioned that I became more patient and a better listener than I was before I joined the programme.

In year two, I took the international elective in Dubai. Having never had the opportunity to learn about Islamic culture and business practices, it was good to develop a better understanding of the region. Although my Dubai experience increased my interest in the Middle East, I didn’t expect to get the chance to work in the region.

Before I came to Cass, I didn’t have a wide professional network that extended outside Japan and included different industries. Today, I have a broader business perspective and an international network of professional contacts.

Though I still work for the same employer, my career has changed dramatically. After the programme. I have had several opportunities to undertake important projects for my company. I am now a Deputy General Manager at JX Nippon and I am based in Abu Dhabi. The MEMBA made me more confident in my own abilities and more aware of my limitations, encouraging me to develop the leadership skills needed to play a more strategic role within my company.

My Cass experience transformed me from a geologist into a manager, giving me a clearer view of my own career path and equipping me to contribute to the creation of a long-term vision for the business.